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Breathing Together @ the NI Science Festival: Belfast on the Brink

As part of NI Science Festival, members of the Medicine, Health and Life Sciences faculty organised an event to show what happens when an unknown pathogen causes an epidemic. Breathing Together postdoc Lindsay was involved in the organisation of the event. She delivered the opening talk and devised the activities for the virus identification station. OKIDO kindly provided magazines for the attendees.

This was a sold-out ticketed event.

Participants were given disposable ‘haz-mat’ suits and face masks. There was an opening talk on viruses and then the attendees were split into groups of about 20 people. The groups rotated around four stations:

1) Nursing: to identify patients and triage them

2) Diagnosis and Identification: How hospitals use diagnostic tests and how scientists figure out what the pathogen is

3) Pharmacy: how are treatments developed

4) Public Health: The importance of raising awareness without causing panic

This was an immersive experience. We had volunteers playing the patients. Each station was interactive, allowing for the participants to have a go at some science! We finished the event with a quiz and pizza.

Feedback was incredible with some attendees saying it was the best event of the science festival. The science festival organisers have also asked that the event return as it was such a success.